For a coffee-lover like me, riding to the coffee capital of the Philippines, Amadeo, Cavite was more than just a trivial endeavor. Just being at one of the country’s largest coffee producer and tasting it’s famous “pahimis” blend was enough to pedal my way to Amadeo. Besides, it’s just short of 30km from Biñan where I’m staying. For this ride, I took the Davilan road to Silang, Cavite to Amadeo then a sidetrip to Tagaytay on my way back.
I catch my breath as it escapes me. It’s getting shallow. I knew I’m almost at the edge of my capacity to pedal. So I stop. They call this stretch “2 kilometers of Pain”, now I know why. First time I passed through REVPAL was coming from Tagaytay side. I was screaming with exhilaration as I descend these slopes from Mt Sungai. Going the “reverse” way and negotiating up to 15% gradient (9 degrees) incline was a different experience altogether. But hey, we’re here for the thrill right? Like any other cyclist, we’re always trying to test our mettle. Am I? I’m really here for the sightseeing.
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them”Ernest Hemingway
98 Rides. 2,055 km distance. Ride climb as high as 566 masl. That’s how a year of cycling through the pandemic looks like from my Strava. At least the ones I were able to log. It’s been a year since I had En, what I call my Dahon Route folding bike. What the stats doesn’t show are the loads of cargo my bike handled running grocery errands, the sense of freedom riding a bike brought in the constrained world of community quarantine and pesos I saved and possible COVID19 transmissions I avoided by using my bike as an active transport.
Staying in Biñan, Laguna offered a more pleasant provincial scenery than I was staying in Metro Manila. While not entirely rural, our side of Laguna borders Carmona, Cavite which still have plenty of open spaces and nature spots. It gave me opportunity to explore nearby areas by bike. One biking destination here enjoyed by locals is called Davilan. Still part of Carmona, the place has challenging uphills called Davilan Ahon, the wide open wilderness-like Davilan Park and a rough trail leading to a refreshing pool of water at Pasong Buhangin.
It’s the Chinese new year and I wanted to revisit Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world. I knew celebrations this 2021 will be quite different due to the pandemic. But since I haven’t been to this part of Manila, I thought it would be interesting to bike around the area. This time, I went bimodal too. Trying out the Pasig River Ferry service from Guadalupe to Escolta, then back to San Joaquin, Pasig in the evening. So how is it like to travel on a water vessel with my folding bike this pandemic?
The cycling boom has certainly made me more keen on exploring areas near my residence in Pasig. If I can pedal it, I will attempt to explore. Rizal province is certainly one of them. Lately I had been frequenting the hills of Antipolo for its mountains and nature. I’ve been seeing Camp Sinai as one of the popular destinations for cyclist and it certainly looked appealing for a mountain-lover like me. Imagine views of the Sierra Madre mountain range, roads fringed with pine trees and the nippy weather. And a couple of days before Christmas, I decided to take advantage of the good weather and rode up to Antipolo to finally check this out.
For a moment, I sat on the concrete bench, gazed at the blue sky and clouds mirrored at the still lake. It was a tranquil space in the midst of greens. Jamboree Lake was unknown to me until a fellow outdoor enthusiast and biker, Cha, posted her visit here on social media. I got curious of this lake found within the city of Muntinlupa. Much more when I learned it was the smallest natural lake in the country. With the pandemic prohibiting our movement, it was a challenge to find a patch of nature to explore and enjoy in the stifling concrete landscape of the city. So this was a good starting point for adventure.